How not to build a mailing list

by Michele on March 8, 2011

How not to build a mailing list

How not to build a mailing list

Throughout 2010, I did a lot of business networking.  My efforts paid off in loads of new contacts, which was great, but not so great was the unexpected side effect of SPAM in my email box!  About once a month, I got added to a newsletter without giving verbal or written permission (being in possession of someone’s business card does not mean they want to be added to a newsletter).  These SPAM messages usually came from directly from someone’s email address without the use of an email list management service like Aweber (affiliate link).  This meant that there was no “unsubscribe” button, and I had to email the person directly and tell them to remove me.  If the spammer was on top of their email, I sometimes got removed.  Often, it took more than once and I sometimes got added repeatedly after being removed.

This is SPAM as defined by the CAN-SPAM act (easy-to-read guidelines here), and is a great example of how not to build an email newsletter mailing list.  It looks unprofessional and slapped together.  If people aren’t opting in, the sender has no way of knowing if the newsletter is of value to the recipient of not.  Only the recipient can determine that, and if they don’t want the newsletter then the sender is just being a pest by sending it.

There’s loads of reasons why this type of spamming isn’t a good idea, but the main one for me is that I’m irritated that the sender presumes to know their newsletter is good for me even if I don’t think it is.  The way to avoid this is simple and not very expensive.  Use a newsletter service like Aweber, and only send your newsletter to people that have expressed clearly that they want it.  The rewards are huge – I’m still in awe every time I hit send that I have a community of people waiting to hear from me.

Comments

  1. […] the heels of my recent post How not to build a mailing list and my recent newsletter article on clearing your email inbox, I thought I’d give you some […]

  2. I hear you, Michele! One woman added me to her mailing list after we met at an event where I had clearly said during the group discussion how much that practice annoys me.

    What’s even worse? She’d asked me to email her with some times we could meet for one-on-one networking, which I did, and she didn’t even respond! FAILx2

    1. Michele says:

      That’s so bad Janet! How does she ever expect to get any business or referrals?

  3. Don Talbert says:

    Michele,
    We had this very discussion today at a networking meeting. One of the people in attendance, told us that she met a woman, who believes having someone’s business card, gives her the right to put them on a list.
    I met someone like that at a networking event last summer. She said all the right things, but her actions spoke a different language. She offered to introduce me to someone she thought would be a good contact. Instead, I received a promotional flyer from her, telling me all about the great products her bank offers.
    When I sent an email asking the status of the introduction she offered to make, she failed to reply.
    In short, she collected cards to build her list. Not the way to do it.

    1. Michele says:

      Don,
      Ugh! Some people just don’t get it. The two practices you describe make a very bad impression on me and while I won’t say “never,” I will say that these actions would make for a slim chance of ever getting a referral or business from me.

  4. Don Talbert says:

    Michele,
    I had another incident just the other day. I accepted a Linkedin invitation form someone. A few days later, a message inviting me to join a call, came via email.
    I contacted her and said that I had been put on her list without giving permission. She replied by saying she thought I may be interested in the call, therefore she put me on the contact list. This is someone i did not know. It was clear she connected just to generate prospects for her business.
    In my reply, I told her about permission marketing, and how that could help her in the future. She’s no longer a connection, as she looked at me as a prospect and nothing more.

    1. Michele says:

      Don,

      I agree that’s pretty bad. I removed a LinkedIn contact who was sending me multiple marketing messages per month for a program I was not interested in. I thought it was really bad form.

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